Colin Cooper will carry on as coach of the New Zealand Maori rugby team for a further two years.
The Taranaki coach (Ngati Pukenga) has had his role extended, with New Zealand Rugby announcing the news via a statement released in Maori, as part of Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori - Maori Language Week.
Cooper, who's been in charge of the side since 2013, will guide them on the November tour to the United States, Ireland and England and coach them against the British and Irish Lions when they tour New Zealand next year.
New Zealand Rugby Maori Board Chairman Wayne Peters welcomed Cooper's reappointment as a strong endorsement of the excellent work he had achieved in developing players from inside the Maori All Blacks team environment.
"This is an incredibly special team, and we are proud of what they represent. Colin has been a key part of the team's success on and off the field. His professional and personal ability to develop great young talent is obvious, and we are delighted that he wants to continue that work," Peters said.
Cooper said continuing his involvement with the Maori All Blacks for this year's tour and next year's historic British and Irish Lions Series, made the job too attractive to pass up.
"I was very motivated to remain part of this team, and it was a major driver for me to stay for 2016 and 2017.
"Having the Maori All Blacks as a key part of the High Performance pathway to other honours has been a great motivator for players too. It's great to see what players have achieved particularly, the likes of Elliott Dixon, Liam Squire, Charlie Ngatai, Damien McKenzie, Brad Webber and Joe Moody - seeing them named as All Blacks is a great recognition of what the Maori All Blacks bring.
"Maori rugby is already so rich in history, and is an important part of New Zealand Rugby history. But I also think the Maori All Blacks team is really finding its place in the High Performance arena as we have seen from the selection of players into the All Blacks."
Cooper has already been eyeing up potential talent for this year's squad to tour later this year.
"There are some great young players out there and a number of Super Rugby players have already put their hand up for selection, so I'm looking forward to seeing that group come together later this year," he said.
The Maori All Blacks squad will be announced after the All Blacks name their Rugby Championship squad.
In the meantime, Cooper is working with New Zealand Rugby on appointing the remainder of the Maori All Blacks management team.
The original release:
Kua whakatūria anō a Colin Cooper hei Kaiako Matua o te kapa Ō Pango Māori
Kua whakapuakina e Whutupōro Aotearoa i tēnei rā te whakatūranga anō o te kaiako a Colin Cooper (Ngāti Pūkenga) hei Kaiako Matua o te kapa Ō Pango Māori mō te rua tau.
Ka whakahaere a Cooper, i whakatūria tuatahitia i te tau 2013, i te haerenga o te kapa ki te tuakoi raki ki Chicago, Airangi me Ingarangi ā te Whiringa-ā-rangi, tae atu ki te haerenga ki te purei ki ngā Raiona Piritene me Airangi ā te 2017.
I whakamihia te whakatūranga anō o Cooper e te Heamana o te Poari o te Whutupōro Aotearoa, e Wayne Peters, hei mutunga iho o āna mahi rawe whakapakari kaipurei i roto anō i te kapa Ō Pango Māori.
"He kapa tino hira rawa tēnei, ā, he kaha tō mātou whakahī ki tā rātou e tohu ana. He wāhi tino nui tō Colin ki te angitu o te kapa i runga te papa hākinakina, i waho anō hoki i te papa hākinakina. Ka āta kitea tōna kaha ngaio, whaiaro hoki ki te whakawhanake i ngā pūmanawa o ngā kaipurei taiohi, ā, e tino koa ana kei te hiahia ia kia haere tonu aua mahi āna," te kī a Peters.
I kī a Cooper ko te kukume o tana whai wāhi tonu ki ngā Ō Pango Māori mō te haerenga ā tēnei tau me tō tērā tau mō ngā kēmu ki ngā Raiona Piritene me Airangi he mahi e kore e taea te whakakore.
"E tino hihiri ana au kia whai wāhi tonu ki tēnei kapa, ā, koia tētahi o ngā mea e āta āki ana i ahau kia noho mō ngā tau 2016 me te 2017.
"He mahi tino whakahihiri ki ngā kaipurei anō hoki te whai wāhi o ngā Ō Pango Māori hei wāhanga matua o te ara Whakatutukinga Tiketike tae atu ki ētahi anō hōnore. He mea nui te kite i ngā mahi i tutuki i ētahi kaipurei, ina koa ko Elliott Dixon rātou ko Liam Squire ko Charlie Ngatai ko Damien McKenzi ko Brad Webber ko Joe Moody - me te kite i tā rātou whakaurunga ki ngā Ō Pango, koia te whakamanatanga o te takoha o ngā Ō Pango Māori ki te kēmu.
He hōhonu rawa te hītori o te whutupōro Māori, me tōna wāhi hira ki te hītori o te Whutupōro Aotearoa. Engari e whakaaro ana hoki au kua tae kē te kapa Ō Pango Māori ki te wāhanga o ngā Whakatutukinga Tiketike, me te kitea o tēnā i ngā kaipurei kua tīpakohia mō ngā Ō Pango."
E torotoro kē ana a Cooper i ngā pūmanawa kaipurei mō te rōpū hei haere ki tāwāhi ā tēnei tau tonu.
"Kei reira kē ētahi kaipurei tino kaha, ā, kua kī mai ētahi kaipurei Super Rugby e wātea ana kia tīpakohia, nā reira e tāria ana e au te kite i te whakahuinga o taua rōpū ā tēnei tau tonu," hei tāna.
Ka pānuitia te rōpū Ō Pango Māori ā muri i tā ngā Ō Pango whakaingoa i tō rātou anō rōpū Investec Rugby Championship.
Heoi, i tēnei wā tonu e mahi tahi ana a Cooper me Whutupōro Aotearoa ki te whakatū i te toenga o te rōpū whakahaere mō ngā Ō Pango Māori.